First comes love, then comes marriage. Then comes the ‘If I go first. . .’ conversation


In many marriages, there is a division of labor develops leaving partners to worry about what will happen if “they go first.” Follow our link to the Boston Globe article in which people let their spouses know what they worry about and their final wishes of nonlegal matters. For the complete article, follow our link to Boston Globe.

Jacquie Bishop (left) and her wife Kelley Ready posed for a portrait with their boiler at their Dorchester home.

By Beth Teitell | Forbes

Anne Lower is in her early 50s and presumably has many years left. But just in case, once a month, she holds a “fire drill” with her husband in their South End condo, reminding him where she keeps the notebook with the passwords. For the bank. The insurance company. Boston Public Library. Sonos. Netflix. eBay. Experian. E-ZPass. And so on.

“On top of the tragedy of me dying,” said Lower, of GordonLower PR, “I don’t want him to be on the phone with customer service in perpetuity trying to get the passwords again.”

First comes love, then comes marriage. Then comes the “If I go first. . .” conversation. It’s a practical and sometimes even jokey talk that doesn’t dwell on the emotional part of being widowed — missing your beloved’s soul and companionship and a life built on shared hopes and memories. The point is to pass on crucial information to the one left behind. Before it’s too late.

Here’s how you run the dishwasher since you’ve never once done it in 50 years of marriage. This is your sister’s address. The black shirt does not go with your blue blazer.

Or, as Dave McLaughlin, 50, of Belmont, regularly tells his wife, Betsy, 56, a Pilates instructor: If I’m not here to nag you about it, “don’t watch so much CNN.”

“CNN enrages me,” said Betsy, who has her own pre-posthumous instructions for Dave, which also deal with issues of mental health, in his case, attention deficit disorder.

“Please make sure you’re properly medicated,” she tells him.

In many marriages — OK, in most, or even all, no matter how equal they are — a division of labor is established, often with zero discussion. One person knows how to reach the snow plow guy and understands the air conditioner, and the other keeps track of the milk and blueberry supply and sets up the auto pays. Read More

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